Blues guitarist John Dee Holeman to perform at today’s Blues and Jazz Festival

  • Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 11:48 p.m.
John Dee Holeman
John Dee Holeman

Another legendary performer has joined the lineup for today’s Rowan Blues and Jazz Festival in the 200 block of West Fisher Street.

John Dee Holeman of Durham — a blues guitarist, singer and song writer — will perform with blues harmonica virtuoso Phil Wiggins at 8 p.m.

Holeman is recognized as one of the Piedmont’s most gifted traditional bluesmen and is a winner of the N.C. Heritage Award.

This is the 15th year for the Blues and Jazz Festival, organized each year by Eleanor Qadirah of Salisbury. For what she says is the final festival, Qadirah has booked a lineup representing some of the most requested performers by fans from the past 14 years.

They include Joe Robinson, Matt Walsh featuring Chuck Cotton and Mookie Brill, Wiggins and more.

Musical performances start at 1:45 p.m. with the Salisbury Mini Funk Factory and go through the evening, with the last group beginning at 9:30 p.m. That’s the Homemade Jamz Blues Band, featuring Ryan, Kyle and Taya Perry.

Admission is free; bring your own lawn chair and blanket.

Before the music starts, the Jackie Torrence Tribute Storytelling Festival will run from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., also in the Salisbury Post parking lot in the 200 block of West Fisher and also free.

Holeman stopped going to school after he finished the fourth grade so he could help his father farm. “I missed my education, but I’ve made a living so far,” he once told an interviewer.

He has performed at the National Folk Festival, at Carnegie Hall, and has made overseas tours. In 1988, he was awarded the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is proud of a certificate signed and given to him by then-President Reagan.

When Holeman turned 80 in 2009, friends surprised him with the gift of a new electric guitar, which made his Piedmont blues sound as fresh as ever. In recent years he has been a regular artist at Music Maker’s summer Warehouse Concerts series in Durham,

Wiggins achieved acclaim as one half of the Piedmont blues duo of Cephas & Wiggins. Since the death of guitarist and singer John Cephas in 2009, Wiggins has collaborated with others.

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